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A Taste of Wild Alaska by Vivian Wagner One July a few years ago, my husband and I sailed and hiked with friends around Kodiak Island, and everywhere we looked we saw them: bright red and orange salmonberries, hanging from bushes, just waiting to be plucked and eaten. It was the first time I’d ever had these berries, and I fell in love with them. We picked handfuls, eating as many as we could right where they grew, and carrying overflowing containers back to the boat. Salmonberries (Rubus spectabilis) are members of the rose family, and they’re related to raspberries, cloudberries, and other brambles. In Alaska they grow predominantly in damp coastal areas in the southeast, southcentral, and southwest regions. Prized as food by indigenous peoples, salmonberries can be eaten raw or used for pies, tarts, pancakes, jam, or syrup. They’re also high in antioxidants and vitamins A and C.…

Communication is Key I grew up in the Lower 48, and over the last decade, I’ve come to realize the differences between people who live in Alaska versus those who don’t. My clients, who I take on Alaska tours, also note these distinctions and point them out—usually with amusement, and other times with shock akin to having entered a foreign country with a different language and culture. Of course, these are generalizations—but indulge me for my years on the ground in the north and attempts at self-deprecating humor. One of the first things you need to know about Alaskans is that they prefer to communicate by phone or in person. Many businesses don’t publish their email address for correspondence, not even a general one or automated form. Because I have social anxiety and will always choose to write rather than call or meet in person, I have spent hours searching…

Seven long-time faves on the culinary scene Alaska has gained quite the reputation among foodies—and deservedly so. Using the best of what Alaska has to offer, the state’s chefs, bakers, and restaurateurs have added a distinctly northern twist to their food service. Fresh Alaskan seafood is always a featured ingredient; game may be on the menu, too, as available. Locally grown produce, such as berries and vegetables that do well in Alaska’s northern climate, are used whenever possible. And a tempting assortment of homemade treats for dessert is meant to warm the heart as well as fill the stomach. Fat Olives’ private label wine. Courtesy Jacques du Preez, Juneau’s Waterfront Restaurants The results are, well, delicious. From rural roadhouses to urban steakhouses, Alaska’s culinary scene has something for every palate and budget. Among the many choices, certain local landmarks stand out. They have earned a loyal following over time for…